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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Mothers demand changes to Cumbria mental health care for young

PARENTS have voiced their frustration at mental health provision for children with autism, following a damning survey about the quality of care in Cumbria.

Statistics released by the Furness branch of the National Autistic Society following a survey of 128 families found seven in 10 families have not been able to access mental health support in times of crisis.

The survey blamed poor communication and a lack of specialist staff as reasons for failings by Cumbria’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Now, two mothers of autistic children from Barrow have spoken out about the poor care they say their sons received.

One mother says her unsatisfactory experience with CAMHS dates back to 2007.

She says her son fell into crisis due to his high anxiety but the service repeatedly let her down through delays, unfulfilled follow-up appointments and low staffing levels. This led to her finding care from an independent support worker.

The mother, who does not wish to be named, said: “I see so much potential in my son and it’s so sad to think how different things could be if he’d had the right support from an early age.

“Constantly battling for support has taken its toll on my family and I hope that by speaking out I can prevent other people from going through the same thing.

“Early intervention by appropriately trained therapists doesn’t just make the difference to children with autism but it also saves the local authority money in the long term by preventing more costly health needs. Things need to change now before more children fall into crisis.”

Meanwhile, another mother says the service put her 10-year-old child with Asperger syndrome on a long waiting list and he saw four different practitioners over 14 months. This was despite him being bullied at school and having suicidal thoughts.

A statement from the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said waiting times for diagnosis and mental health support were improving and extra funding has been allocated.

A spokeswoman said: “The trust is working with our partners on a project to improve the autism pathway. This aims to encompass all support available to children and families affected by autism from all agencies.”

Have your say

My son attended CAMHS 14 years ago and it wasnt a great service then either. Early intervention and strategies are vital with autism and in my sons day they were not there. The consequences are damaged adults and no specialist adult services to speak of so its a no win situation.

Posted by janet bury on 8 August 2014 at 20:10

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